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The documentary that is to be analyzed in the paper at hand is called “Barrios and Barriers: The Tucson Civil Rights Era”. The director and producer of the film is Tom Kleespie (also known for his work devoted to the Korean War). The documentary was released in 2011. Although the second decade of the 21st century seems to be far away from the events described in the film racial issues continue to be one of the most heated topics not only in Arizona but the whole country. The documentary was shot in Tucson, which is notorious for its racial segregation. That is why it collected the most demonstrative personal experiences of people about the prejudice they had to face.
The key concept of the documentary
The key concepts that the director is trying to develop are injustices, racism, and discrimination that led to the uprising of the Tucson civil rights movement. His attention is mostly attracted not to the movement itself but to social, historic, and political reasons underlying it. However, the film gives only brief historical notes to make it clear for the viewer about the cause of changes in race-related policies. To prove his points, he examines real cases of people who experienced racism. Even being unaware of their social status, life circumstances, education or other factors, we can judge how challenging it was for them to live in Tucson.
For example, Anna Jolivet tells that she had to change her major at college from business to education when her professor said that she will never find a job in public administration as no one would hire a black woman. Guadalupe Castillo claims that she almost never saw any white families in the barrios. Gressworth Lander notices that the first legislation mandated in Arizona when it became a state was to separate white and black schools.
Dunbar School was the only one all of the speakers could attend. Even after 1954 (Brown vs. Board of Education), the integration seemed to be more formal than real. Moran Jr. Maxwell says that he was not allowed to eat in the same place with his sports team. Alva B. Torres confirms that minority children were still separated from white students as they had to go to school in a different shift (Kleespie, 2017). These examples prove the credibility of the author’s position.
Audience and Purpose
The intended audience of the source includes everyone interested in racial issues. Yet, the film primarily appeals to people of power since they can start transformations through legislation. This does not affect reliability of the source since none of the speakers appeal for help. However, this greatly influences the rhetorical strategy. The director is rather bold in what he allows to be shown. For example, one of the speakers claims that “the integration did not make it better or easier” (Kleespie, 2017). This is a direct challenge to the government.
The documentary was prepared to attract the attention of those who are not indifferent as only they can break the ice. The director clearly shows that the future of the whole nation is at stake. It is not by chance that Maxwell tells a story of his team that refused to eat without him to show their support. It’s people who make a difference, not policies.
Although one of the interviewers states that “Tucson was a nasty, segregated, mean community”, the author is more likely to show that such practices were rather a rule than an exception. Even in the 21st century, which promotes tolerance and justice, racism is still not infrequent. The importance of the video is supported by the fact that the attitude to minorities remains the same no matter what legislative acts are issued to ban discrimination. It has already become a common practice for minority groups to cluster together and to send their children to segregated schools to avoid bullying. This is definitely not what a multinational country can be proud of.
Kleespie, T. (2017). Barrios and barriers: the Tucson civil rights era . Web.